2000

Christmas Frigatebird

Australia

2000

Fregata andrewsi

Endangered

  • Habitat loss due to agricultural purposes
  • Uncontrolled hunting
  • Difficult breeding habits

Christmas Frigatebird, also known as Christmas Island Frigatebird from the Frigatidae family, originated from Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Gregory Mathews is an Australian ornithologist who in 1914 made a proposal to consider Christmas Frigatebird as a separate species using the binominal name Fregata Andrews as a tribute to the English paleontologist Charles Andrews.

This kind of bird is about 7 feet long but lightly-built. It has brownish-black plumage, long narrow wings, and deeply forked tail. Male is distinguished from female by its egg-shaped white patch on its belly and a red gular sac which in time inflates to attract its mate. On the other hand, female is slightly larger than male with white breast and belly. Christmas Frigatebird feeds on flying fish from ocean surface and indulges to “kleptoparasitism”, forcing others to give up their foods for them.

According to studies, one of the outstanding characteristics of this species is that it can stay for weeks and months on air at a time without landing, making them unique among any other aquatic birds. It also appears that this bird species can sleep on air with open eyes which is possible by resting its brain for short durations. It is placed as the 9th most globally endangered bird due to conversion of its natural habitat for agriculture use; lack of food due to overfishing and trapping of terrestrial animals, as well as uncontrolled hunting. Added to this is the fact that it only breeds in four main nesting colonies.